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The Truth About Youth (1930)

Passed  -  Drama | Romance  -  3 November 1930 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 151 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 2 critic

Richard Carewe has raised his deceased friend's son from childhood with the help of his housekeeper and her beautiful daughter, Phyllis. He arranges a marriage between Phyllis and the boy, ... See full summary »



(based on: "When We Were Twenty-One" by), (adaptation)
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Complete credited cast:
Phyllis Ericson
Conway Tearle ...
Richard Carewe
David Manners ...
Richard Dane 'The Imp'
J. Farrell MacDonald ...
Colonel Graham
Myrtle Stedman ...
Mrs. Ericson
Harry Stubbs ...
Horace Palmer 'Waddles'


Richard Carewe has raised his deceased friend's son from childhood with the help of his housekeeper and her beautiful daughter, Phyllis. He arranges a marriage between Phyllis and the boy, but the rascal impulsively marries a notorious nightclub singer, "the Firefly", instead. The femme fatale dumps the boy when she discovers he has no money, but by then Phyllis realizes she is in love with Richard, not his foolish ward. Written by Anonymous

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Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 November 1930 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(copyright length) | (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Vitaphone production reels #4353-4360 and #4250 (trailer) See more »


Kara: Thanks... you have a couple of dangerous curves yourself.
See more »


Version of When We Were 21 (1921) See more »


I Have to Have You
(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Leo Robin
Performed by Myrna Loy
See more »

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User Reviews

Great fun for Myrna Loy fans
4 September 2004 | by (Columbus OH) – See all my reviews

It's fun to see the plot of this early talkie careen back and forth between traditional melodrama and coming of age story, with some hints of almost incestuous attraction in a May-December romance. Conway Tearle plays a middle-aged bachelor who has raised the son of a friend (who died when the boy was only 6). Now the boy, affectionately nicknamed The Imp (David Manners) is turning 21 and he's engaged to be married to Loretta Young, daughter of Tearle's housekeeper. The Imp is a callow youth (after all, he's played by David Manners) and he skips a carefully planned birthday dinner to spend the night carousing with a sexy, gold digging nightclub singer (Myrna Loy). She thinks the boy has a big inheritance and so agrees to marry him when he asks her, but what she doesn't know is that Manners has very little money at all. Young finds a love letter from Loy to Manners, but Tearle covers up for Manners by saying it was written to him (they both have the same first name). This ploy, however, upsets Young even more; it turns out that she has been nursing a crush on the older man for some time. Tearle goes though an elaborate charade to keep the truth from Young, not realizing all the time that Young is miserable.

It's a 1930 movie, so it's a little stiff and stagy, in production and acting. Loy is wonderful, like a breath of fresh air whenever she's around, glittery and sexy and dangerous. Manners is his usual rather awkward self (when he's staring with lust at Loy, he looks rather like Harpo Marx during his drunk scene in THE COCOANUTS) but he has the leading man looks needed for the part. Young is not as good as she would be in later movies; both she and Tearle are rather stiff. The characters could be fleshed out a bit more; all the exposition is crammed into a long dialogue scene in the first ten minutes of the movie. I would particularly recommend this to Loy fans-it's always fun seeing her as a kind of femme fatal (as she was in several of her early films) and contrasting that image with her good-girl/wifely image later in her career.

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